Holidays hold a special place in an Indian’s life, especially the corporate worker. In addition to the CLs, PLs, and the MLs, Indians are also thankful to the many gods and great men who decided to take birth, marry or die on this land; resulting in a fairly decent number of extr’olidays. And then, when it is not the gods, the politicians are always pliant. So, we have a good set of forced holidays brought about by different outfits under the garb of Bharat Bandh et al.
But Wednesday, 30th March falls under a very special category. It is neither a festival, nor any great men (women too) were born, died or anything on this day and finally no political outfit has declared it as Bandh-day. Yet, across the length and breadth of this nation, work will come to a standstill this day, precisely from 2.30 pm onwards, as the Indian cricket team face off with its not-so friendly neighborhood rivals Pakistan. As the game gets going, millions of Indians will be glued to the television screen, cheering, screaming, ranting and raving, as every ball is pitched up on the 22-yard strip.
The match has put companies in India on a dicey wicket. Since, the fiscal-year closing is looming large, there is just too much of stuff that needs be done. On the other hand, it is only but natural that employees will be following the match ball per ball.
To resolve this dilemma, companies across the board have adopted different measures and means, while some have given a day off, the others are putting up screens and offering pizza to all the employees at the workplace itself. Companies like Reliance Infrastructure have given a day off, while others like Axis Bank, Bharti Axa General Insurance, Future Media, Cadbury India and Future Bazaar will work half day. Continue reading
Thankfully, the curtains come down on the IPL tamasha today in South Africa. Over the past month and more, we have been inundated with victories, defeats, controversies, etc., from the second season of IPL, the 2020 cricket tournament. Various teams named after different cities and regions of India dressed up in bright ‘in your eyes colours have a go at each other for some 20 odd overs in company of cheer leaders who strut their stuff every time a boundary is scored or a wicket falls. 2020 cricket has apparently found its feet and is now has some critical mass, so as to be dubbed as a form of sport in its own right. And yet, somewhere I feel it nothing more than an abomination on the name of cricket.
In a country devoid of many heroes, cricket is not merely a sport but a religion of sorts. People have taken to worshipping the cricketers, who are nothing less the avatars of the divine lords. Ironically, the game is a colonial import, brought and introduced by our English masters. But it was in 1983, when Kapil Dev and his team lifted the Prudential Cup over their heads; we fell in love with the game. For a young and vibrant nation breaking from its past, the game came as an ego-booster; India had arrived so as to say.
Over the years, the game took on different connotations as we progressed, from being a steroid shot to a revenge mechanism (Indo-Pak matches), cricket continued to enthuse and excite us. We were fortunate as well, having a recurring crop of world class players, from Vijay Merchant to Sunil Gavaskar to Kapil Dev to Sachin Tendulkar to the current bunch of youngsters led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Though, we haven’t won another World Cup in one-day cricket, we continue to be a force to reckon with both on and off the field (financial clout).
Yet, even as the game has transformed over the past decades; there has been a steady descent. Thanks to the millions and billions of monies, cricket has ceased to be a ‘gentleman sport’ but merely a money spinner. And 2020 is the worst manifestation of the greed that now enshrouds and has its grip on the game. To be honest, cricket has died an ignomious death in the last few years, and strangely we the worshippers didn’t even realise it. Continue reading